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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  July 23, 2009 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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several rabbis. the corruption and trafficking of human organs. >> new jersey's corruption problems is one of the worst is not the worst in the nation. >> you think? all that and more now on "countdown". >> we're thick as thieves. good evening from new york. i'm david schuster in for keith olbermann. for every week president obama's planned health care reform gets delayed by congress that means another 47,000 more americans will lose their health insurance. another 17,000 will file for bankruptcy because they can't pay their medical bills. and another 400 will die because they don't have health coverage. in the fifth story of the "countdown," the republicans
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have their own plan to fix medical care in this country. it starts and ends with their electoral victory in 2010. president obama back on the stump in ohio making the case for health care reform. the president took a tour of the cleveland clinic discussing medical concerns and how to pay for them. the families seem to be more concerned about themselves. james inhoff from oklahoma said today if the republicans could stop health care reform, he said it would be a huge help for the 2010 midterm elections, which would help explain why house republican leader boehner would not say whether the republican would ever release its own health care plan, if it even has one. we're continuing to put the touches on our bill as the democrats are putting the finishing touches on their bill. then there are the democrats. all the dirty work for the republicans. political reports on how the blue dog democrats are capitalizing on health care financially. so far this year, the committee attached to the voting block on the house is on track to raise $1.1 million. more than half of that money the
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senate is stuck in the committee of the finance chairman and blue dog max baucus and how much information he is sharing with them about the talks and the policies being worked up. majority leader harry reid made it official that the senate bill will not pass before the recess to keep the republicans happy. quote, we'll do what we to make sure their issues are not varied. at a high school in shaker heights, ohio, president obama was apparently okay with the delay. >> we heard today that well we may not be able to get the bill out of the senate by the end of august or the beginning of august. that's okay. i just want people to keep on working. just keep working. i want the bill to get out of the committees and then i want that bill to go to the floor. and then i want that bill to be reconciled in the eyes of the
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house of the senate and then i want to sign a bill. and i want it done by the end of this year. i want it done by the fall. >> the president also calibrated expectations of what quick passage of a reform bill would actually bring. >> our target date is to get this done by the fall. that's the bottom line. but, keep in mind that even if we got it done in the fall, most of these changes would be fazed in over several years. so it's not as if you're going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly the health care system is all changed completely. >> so many democrats fighting amongst each other, rnc chairman michael steele seems prepared to sacrifice bipartisanship on this one issue. >> look at what these guys are saying and doing, not what we're saying and doing. you have 60 votes in the senate. you've got almost a 2-1 majority in the house. the democrats control the entire power structure of the federal government. if you want health care, get the votes. do it.
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>> yeah. >> republicans can't block the bill because republicans can't even filibuster in the senate. >> lots to talk about with howard fineman, senior washington correspondent for "newsweek" magazine, and howard, good evening. >> hi, good evening. >> the plan is not to reform health care but to reform the republican party in 2010? >> don't forget, it's the rnc. it's the rush-newt-cheney, as in liz, republican party. based on that rnc, the republican strategy is to talk about racial fears and resentments. to talk about where barack obama was born. and not to talk about health care. i talked to people on the hill all day today, talked to republicans as well as democrats. republicans claim they have plan, they don't. they claim they're going to have a plan. they won't. their whole strategy, david, is to stand on the sidelines with
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their arms folded while the democrats try to work this thing out. that's the whole strategy. >> is the senator's assumption correct? health care reform is what americans want and republicans don't deliver it to them, how does that help republicans? >> i don't think it does. i think a lot of republicans privately when they're in their nontribal moments will admit that. the problem is that the economy is in a big herd locker right now and people are concerned about their jobs in part because they're concerned about losing their health care. so it's a combination of economic fears and concerns once related to the health care system. yes, 85% of the american people have health care. but almost all of them are worried about either losing it or worried that the costs of it are going to bankrupt them. that is -- as i travel the country talking to people and as i studied the polls here, that fear connected with the economy
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itself is what's driving politics today. obama is on the right side of that, republicans so far on the wrong side of it. >> could that explain why some republicans like michael steele seem willing to let the democrats fight this out amongst themselves and illustrate and underscore that? if they can make it appear as the democrats afl self-sabotaging is among the hope of the republicans they can emerge unscathed? >> i think that's exactly right, david. i think they know they're sitting on their hands here. they're hoping for a failure on health care because they're hoping that that will cascade to other political damage for the obama presidency that will make it seem not in control of events, not presidential. it will affect the stimulus, the economy. they want a cascade of disasters there politically. but they don't want their hands on it. so yes, they're hoping that the democrats will fall apart.
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that's why barack obama is having senators down to the white house tomorrow. that's why rahm emanuel was on the hill today. if that knowledge permeates the democratic party, that will help drive them together. yes, there are disagreements among democrats on how to pay for this, how to regulate it, etc., etc., down the line. it's not easy. but the president itself has appealed to democrats behind closed doors and said, look, if you study the history, you know that if the party doesn't stick with its president, it's bad as midterm elections, my friends. i think they get that. that's why in the end, despite all of the tumult and the slowing down on the pace of things, the democrats will get together. in the end, they'll go their own way. they're going to forget the republicans. forgot them in the house. no republicans in the house. two or three in the senate. that's the maximum of the number of republicans you're going to see in the end on this. >> howard fineman, thanks as always. >> thank you, david. >> you're welcome.
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>> for more on "the democrat," let's turn to lawrence o'donnell, contributing of the huffington post and the former chief of staff for the senate finance committee. do they not agree that the democrats won, they have a filibuster-proof majority. why can't they do what they can. their issues are not buried when the republicans will never do the same thing with the democrats. >> he doesn't have the democratic votes that he needs. he's not working and hasn't been working for a while trying to get republican votes. they don't have 60 liberal democrats in the senate. if you put any of this stuff to a vote on the senate floor right now, none of it would pass. that's also true in the house. you have seven democrats. seven democrats on henry waxman's committee in the house that have stopped that committee cold. they are stuck. exactly the way the committee got stuck in 1994 when it was run by john dingell. it never delivered a bill. democrats didn't let those bills come up. >> the chairman steele, though, give democrats an out on bipartisanship to the extent
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they exist not that they needed one but should they be looking for one? did they make it okay to say, we're going to do this our own way? >> we sure did. they don't need an out. they can go without republicans now. they don't have the democrats, as i've said. and you know, steele is using a 15-year-old model. there is no other model to refer to. that model was the republicans decided to try to kill clinton health care. the republicans benefitted tremendously by killing clinton health care. have to disagree with the analysis i heard from howard earlier. everyone is now forgetting. all of the pundits are forgetting. the republicans killed clinton health care and they won hugely in the next congressional election. people look at this and say, oh, gee, the republicans hurt themselves by doing this? i don't know what model they're looking at today. >> president obama seemed to be okay with the delay after the august recess.
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is he okay with having his timeline pushed back? >> he's broken hearted about this. the white house made a big mistake by getting obama involve in the timetables. they should have whispered to pelosi, harry reid and the chairman, this is the time table we want. we want this much done before august. they should have never gone public with it. they should have let the chairman say this is my timetable. harry reid say this is my timetable. if they don't make it in the senate, they're not going to. a minor bump for harry reid, instead it's being portrayed as a big presidential loss that they are not making this arbitrary deadline in august. >> given your experience in the finance committee, help us understand or comprehend why harry reid has found so much time and power with max bachus who wasn't consulting with other democratic members of the committee. why is reid letting bachus do that? >> the majority leader has not given any power to the chairman of the finance committee or any committee chairman. those chairman have that power and the finance chairman has always been a far more powerful
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position than the majority leader. the majority leader is really majority scheduler. it's a serious power. it's the power to schedule what happens on the senate floor. but it is impossible for chairman -- for majority leaders to try to order chairman around. i had that experience working for chairman moynihan, the majority leader george mitchell who was a member of the committee. harry reid is not a member of the committee. george mitchell tried to do things in serb ways. he had no power to force us to do things. we would do them to the extent they were agreeable for us to do. but that chairmanship is all powerful. max bachus can ignore anything that the majority leader says and the majority leader knows it. he's doing what's traditional on this case. he's working as hard as he can with the democrats on this committee, trying to pull the republicans in on the committee. trying to get something that will pass the senate. no committee who has delivered a bill so far has delivered a bill that can pass the senate. the kennedy and dodd committee
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has delivered something that's largely irrelevant to processes on the senate floor just like they did 15 years ago. the finance committee, that's the only place where something can come out that has a chance of passing the senate. we did it 15 years ago. we did it right before the august recess. we got our bill out of the senate finance committee. it then went out on the senate floor and the whole exercise died in four days on the senate floor. but the fact it gets out of the finance committee is not the end of the story either. it can all die on the senate floor. >> lawrence o'donnell, "the huffington post" and msnbc, with a wealth of experience on this, thank you for coming on tonight. we appreciate it. >> thanks, david. meantime, president obama says he's surprised by the response to the statement about the arrest of the harvard professor. the president did not walk away from the comments that the police department of cambridge acted stupidly. and both the professor and the arresting officer are refusing to apologize. new information about the backbone of the policeman. the last few minutes of the press conference hasn't
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happened. that's next on "countdown."
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the president's comments on the racially charged debate around arresting of a harvard professor, rush limbaugh is crying reverse discrimination. the bust so big in nurnlg today, it's almost hard to believe. details and all of that and more ahead on "countdown." not just a guarantee to shave you closer. today, it's almost hard to believe. details and all of that and more ahead on "countdown." óñóñóñóñóñ<
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a prominent american scholar, a 58-year-old black man with 50 honorary degrees to his
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name, a mcarthur genius grant, director of wb dubois student research in harvard came face to face a week ago today with a 42-year-old white man, a police sergeant with 11 years on the job in one of the most liberal cities, cambridge, massachusetts who spent the last five years teaching how not to racial profile, a job for which he was selected by a black police commissioner. in our story tonight, the nation's first black president weighed in on a story about black and white that was never black and white and the right wing started salivating. professor henry luis gates came home from europe last week to find his door stuck shot and got his driver to help open it. a neighbor called the police and said two black men were breaking down. sergeant james crowley responded after the driver left and gates got in. not knowing gates was a burglar or if the burglar was inside,
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crowley asked gates for his i.d., which gates initially refused. it got ugly. gates accusing crowley of racism, talking about crowley's mother and crowley refused to identify himself something crowley claims gates could not hear because he would not stop yelling. crowley arrested gates for disorderly conduct. he spent time in lockup with charges dropped this week. >> what it made me realize is how vulnerable all black men are. how vulnerable all people of color are and all poor people to capricious forces like a rogue policeman. and this man clearly was rogue policeman. >> the charge of racial profiling flew. last night, mr. obama was asked about it. >> i don't know for not having been there and not seeing all of the facts, what role played in that, it's fair to say number one, any of us would be pretty angry. number two, that the cambridge
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police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. and number three, what i think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of african-americans and latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. that's just a fact. >> that got back to sergeant crowley. >> you probably have heard what the president had to say last night. i just wonder what your thoughts are concerning his comments. >> i didn't vote for him. >> when he said the cambridge police acted stupidly, he was talking about you. what was your reaction to that? >> my only reaction if somebody had told me what you said, i didn't hear the press conference. i did listen afterwards. i suppose the president of the
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united states took 110% of that. he's way off base. wading into a local issue not knowing all the facts as he himself stated before he made that comment. >> congressional republicans demanded news releases demanding democrats distance themselves. of course, eternal white victim rush limbaugh cried racism. >> last week, we saw white firefighters under assault by agents of barack obama and sonia sotomayor. frank ricci and the boys from new haven were under assault in the sotomayor confirmation hearings. groups went out to destroy these guys. now white policemen are under assault from the east room of the white house. but the president of the united states after admitting he had no -- these are all of the facts going on in there. >> never mind one firefighter was latino or that sergeant crowley was on scene with the latino officer and a black officer. today mr. obama had words of praise for sergeant crowley's
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record but suggested gates should not have been handcuffed and said more broadly that the whole thing is a distraction. >> i think it's a classic example this time when we're struggling about health care, energy, we've got two wars going on, that the issues like this get elevated in ways that probably don't make much sense. >> let's bring in bill kristol, a white house reporter for ""the washington post" and the white house paper political blog, "the fix," president obama said the officer acted stupidly. i wonder if any white person would also be angry at sergeant crowley's behavior or some people might feel less threatened because whites do not have the same history with police. >> let me take a cue at least for the first part of what president obama would say. i can't comment about the racial element of this. not being here. i followed this closely but not being there, i don't want to get
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in to it. he had it right. i don't know all of the facts here. look, professor gates a friend of mine. i support him and i -- you know, i'm not sure exactly how this is going to turn out. but i broadly support him. instead, he gave a much longer answer after that caveat that i think probably got him in to this political hot water where we find him. >> do you get the sense that mr. obama considers issues around race and police to be a distraction? or as you put it, a tempest over the use of the word stupid? >> i would bet the latter is what he thinks right now. i think this whole press conference thing was aimed at health care, driving the health care message. it's urgent. we need to do it. it needs to happen now. every question except one prior to that last question asked by the "chicago sun-times" was about health care and the other question was about the economy. the last question, when he said acted stupidly, look, barack
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obama didn't get elected president because he's a bad politician. i'm certain he knew when he said that he would have liked to have taken it back. >> politically the right wing condemnation of president obama seems strange when you consider the libertarian view of government agents that go in your home. if the homeowner had been a prominent white man and chose not to express outrage. would libertarians and conservatives chosen not to hammer president obama? >> that's politics. maybe i see things through too political a sphere. but that's the lens i look through in my daily life. this is politics. the republican party has not had a lot to distract the public from the broader issues. health care has slowed. harry reid put off the vote until september now. now you've got this issue. all of these things are moving around. what it does is it muddles the white house's message. any day that the president is out of power at the white house,
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the senate, can muddle the white house democratic message. they have to consider it a good day from a purely political perspective. >> there is something poignant here revealing about our country. a black man obviously felt threatened by the presence of an armed uniformed white authority figure in his home. it's easy to imagine the white sergeant now feel under siege as well with the black mayor, black governor, black president all now condemning his actions. politically what should mr. obama do with this dynamic now? >> i think what he has to hope for is that we don't spend another day or two talking about it, to be totally honest with you. that this essentially goes away. that the police officer does not talk more to the media. that the -- that the issue goes quietly away and we move back to health care. if it stays in the limelight. if it comes out that this was, in fact, as the police officer was doing the job that he's been trained to do, then you get more to shaky and tenuous political ground for the president. what he wants right now more than anything is to start talking about health care, even if we talk about the fact that
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the health care vote has been slated for september. he would much prefer that to this conversation. >> at "the washington post," chris, thanks for coming on. >> thank you. governor schwarzenegger, as you might imagine had a bit of explaining to do after he was seen brandishing this knife in his office. and later, new jersey living up to its corruption reputation, but instead of the mob, it's politicians and religious leaders caught up in the sting. 44 arrests, but only three mayors. (announcer) illness doesn't care where you live... ...or if you're already sick... ...or if you lose your job. your health insurance shouldn't either. so let's fix health care. if everyone's covered, we can make health care as affordable as possible. and the words "pre-existing condition" become a thing of the past... we're america's health insurance companies. supporting bipartisan reform that congress can build on.
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on this day in 1984, shock and awe felt around the pageant world as miss america vanessa williams gives up her crown. nude photos of williams announced at the resignation, all the hub-bub scenes quaint now as it predates prejean. miss california suffered the same fate opposite employment. on that note, let's play "hardball." we begin in osaka, japan, with a fashion show devoted to bridal couture. for those who fear bride couture and robots, i suggest you turn away now. our blushing bride is omu. she's shorter than most models but in the same weight category. she's an effortless grace of an
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automatic door ymi wondered down the aisle. wait until you meet the brides maid, fem-bot. she has not been this happy since her first marriage to inspector gadget. to california, governor schwarzenegger dealing with a $26 billion budget crisis. with sacramento in turmoil, there's one option left -- brandishing a really large knife. >> hey, guys, i wanted to say thanks very much for all of the great abuse you're giving me. >> the governor posted a video to thank california for the good ideas. schwarzenegger's press secretary says the knife was a gift and it doesn't mean anything. some residents criticize the visual clearly forgetting this. >> stick around.
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>> and finally, to richardson, texas, where no one is safe from the latest crime sprees sweeping the lone star state, not even the good folks at plants and manters nursery. they installed security cameras from people trying to steal their seedlings. their robber? a bab boone. a small monkey scoops up plants, flowers, and other garden-variety items and handing them to an unseen accomplice waiting on the other side of the fence. the two are still at large but police put together this composite on what the criminals might look like. gop hypocrisy becoming a fine art. is the money for all of the big checks you like handing out governor jindal coming from the stimulus, the same stimulus you deride as a failure, governor? that looks like your name on the check. and miss cheney's attack on president obama. why she's fanning the flames of
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it's official. the first instances of stimulus money fraud. though not the kind that might lead to mind. in our third story of "the countdown," the governor has been traveling around delivering big fat checks from the money from the stimulus package, the same stimulus package he railed again, the same that governor jindal tried to act like santa claus but when he's a phony stimulus elf. he's been touring the state promoting jobs, jobs, jobs. here he is presenting a check to the state of louisiana from the office of the governor, and that's technically true, but more than half of the money comes from the federal stimulus plan. if governor jindal were to acknowledge that, he might contradict himself sin he once tried to refuse stimulus money. since two days ago he called it
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a, quote, stimulus that has not stimulated. the big fat checks and the smiling governor abound along with all of the positive local press he's getting like an $18 million check to the parrish. $15 million for a community development bloc grant. stimulus money. it awarded job training money to louisiana, also part of what jindal is presenting, you know, on his jobs, jobs, and jobs tour. so it goes, when jindal gives louisiana a check for close to $17 million and $5 million to lafayette county, you never know he once tried to block the $8 billion in stimulus money that his state may ultimately receive. let's bring in the washington editor of "the nation." chris hayes, good to see you. >> good to see you. >> is this the logical end to stimulus money hypocrisy by the gop presenting checks with a guileless smile on your face?
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>> this is actually a deep sort of profound part of the conservative dna. the fact of the matter is, the conservative governance doesn't work. we saw it revealed for an absolute failure that it was for the last eight years and we've seen it as a failure of the state and municipal level as well. the ideal situation, actually, for these republican governors and republican politicians in general is to be able to kind of zealously rail against government encroachment and then be able to take all of the goodies and give them back to their constituents. you can see that all the time. you have republicans like mitch mcconnell stuffing appropriations bills with pork for his state while he's railing against government spending, right? so this is not just some sort of limited example of gop hypocrisy or bobby jindal. it's part and parcel of the entire conservative m.o. >> we looked at four accounts of the check presentations by local louisiana papers, none gave any credit to the federal stimulus package. jindal is getting away with this at least to the local press.
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>> of course he is. it's smart politics. he gets the best of both worlds. this is what the republicans want. this is an amazing quote by a texas new deal democratic congressman from back in the '30s. he said, nobody ever shot santa claus. that's true today as it was back then. which is that people actually for all of the anti-government rhetoric you get from conservatives and from the right, people like things like medicare, right? they like the veterans' administration. they like the post office, they like a lot of things -- they use the post office. a lot of parts of government that are the parts and parcel of people's lives that are extremely popular. if you wage war against them, you have to make sure you do not succeed in destroying them or you get punished politically. >> and the national weather service allows us to understand the lightning storm going on behind you. governor jindal is not alone, governor rick perry, sanford, and soon to be ex-governor sarah palin.
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but come to think of it, none of them seem to be faring that well. >> it's not that a good of a time to be a governor as a basic fact. governor approval ratings track closely with the state of the economy and -- wow, it's going crazy out there. now is not a good time to be a governor precisely because states are hemorrhaging jobs, the economy is in a bad place. any incumbent anywhere is not going to do well right now. >> how far does this go? for instance, if the stimulus kicks in over the next year to measurable effect? and the economy finally gets out of its recession, what do the republicans say then? that the economy rebounded despite the stimulus plan? >> they'll claim credit. when and if the health care is passed, you will see conservatives taking credit for it. ronald reagan wants to kill medicare. he said it was socialized medicine. he washed of the dark and pending doom of medicare. is there any republican politician today that goes back to the constituents and said i want to get rid of medicare? it would be political suicide.
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so i guarantee you they will try to take credit for whatever program ends up getting passed. >> and when they're confronted by intrepid reporters like yourself, someone to point out their hypocrisy, what do they say? >> i don't know. my mind doesn't work quick enough to deal with the contradictions of being a conservative politician. >> chris hayes of "the nation" a heck of a lightning storm in washington, d.c. thank you so much for coming in tonight. we appreciate your time. >> thanks, david. >> crime, money laundering, corruption, even international trafficking of human organs, the massive bust of politicians and rabbis in new jersey could make the soprano family blush. if only the cheney family would blush. what liz cheney said about president obama, why the former vice president's daughter is buying into the sympathies of those who think obama is not an american. and the big headline from papa cheney, why he's still throwing his boss under the bus. access to favorite courses
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stop me if you heard this one. three mayors, a deputy mayor, and rabbis all walk in to a bank. it sounds like a punchline. tonight in new jersey, it's all too real. 44 people arrested in a web of corruption hollywood couldn't think up. and later why liz cheney wouldn't say barack obama was born in america. (announcer) this is nine generations
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secret meetings, bribes, informants looking for favors. may sound like the sopranos. a real life corruption probe in new jersey. this morning, the fbi arrested several new jersey political figures for taking payoffs and offering favors. also part of the sting, a bizarre operation involving the selling of human organs, with several rabbis in new york and new jersey involved in a money laundering scheme. our correspondent in this, pete williams. federal agents started the roundup at 6:00 a.m., arresting mayors and state legislators in new jersey and rabbis in a parallel case in new york, 44 in all. >> new jersey's corruption problems is one of the worse if not the worst in the nation. corruption is not only pervasive, but it's become
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engrained in new jersey culture. >> reporter: three mayors were charged with taking bribes. dennis elwell and anthony suarez of ridgefield, along with the deputy mayor of jersey city. fbi agents were listening in as officials met in dieners and parking lots with an undercover informant posing as an informant real estate developer looking for favors. when an informant waved around money, hands reached out to grab it. some $650,000 in cash paid to city officials and go betweens. hoboken's mayor was recorded saying you're going to be treated like a friend. when the informant described himself to mariano vega, a jersey city official as being in good hands, vega replied, "like allstate." >> corruption is a way of life. they exist in a ethics free zone. >> federal agents made a surprising discovery. >> the fbi said it also stumbled upon a brooklyn man
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offering to broker the sale of human kidneys. $160,000 that needed the money and fool u.s. hospitals that the donor and recipient were related. they say they've been doing it for more than ten years. >> rabbis in synagogue in new jersey and new york launder over $3 million by sending it to contacts in israel who returned cash. the fbi says some new jersey officials appeared suspicion of the informant, but never wary enough to pass up the cash. pete williams, nbc news at the justice department. coming up, president obama signs an order for extend secret service for six more months. and liz cheney goes on tv and adds fuel to the fire over the false claims obama is not an american citizen. details ahead on "countdown." announcer: what's your cialis moment?
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>> franklin delano roosevelt once said in politics nothing happens by accident if it happens, you can bet, it's planned that way. so it is in this first story of the countdown no accident that a main stream republican refuses to condemn the wing nuts that say president obama is not an american citizen. this time it was liz cheney on "larry king live" tuesday night appearing opposite of james carville. after being shown a video of birthers screaming at delaware representative matt castle with every chance to have the nut cases, cheney instead attacked the president. >> one of the reasons i think you see people so concerned about this, i think this issue is people are uncomfortable with having for the first time ever, i think, the president who seems
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so reluctant to defend the nation overseas. >> of course the opinion -- >> are you saying because he's a kenyan? >> no, not saying that. >> and finally carville saying what he called the nut wing of the gop said this -- >> i've been accused of hurling facts around. let me hurl a fact around. these are -- these people -- poor pathetic people believe this stuff. just like tonight. miss cheney refuses to say this is ludicrous because she encourages these people. this is a simple thing. this a nutty thing. there's nothing to this. i disagree with this president's policies. they can't say that. >> cheney responding to about the situation chose her words carefully and still refused to disown the birthers. i don't have any question of barack obama's right to be president. my concern is the policies. i'm deeply troubled about the
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path he is taking this government down. increasing taxes on all americans and nationalizing health care. these are dangerous policies for the nation. turn now to charlie pierce. staff writer and contributing editor for "esquire" magazine and author of "idiot america." thanks tonight. >> good to be here. >> fdr is right. it is no accident liz china yeah is refusing to come out and say, yes, the president was born in the united states. what's the game for her and the gop? >> i was listening to chuck todd on "hardball" and when chris asked him about how this thing gets airborne, he jumped in and said the internet. it wasn't the internet until 1992 when he brought it to the whitewater down the rabbit hall. it was "the new york times." it wasn't the internet that put kathleen willey on tv and put jennifer flowers on tv and talk about the body count. it was chris matthews of cnbc. it wasn't the internet that prolonged the act of journalistic malpractice was the coverage of the al gore campaign
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in 2000. why wouldn't these people think it wouldn't work again. >> when a prominent republican like liz cheney refuses on multiple occasions to see that president obama was born in the united states and is a citizen, isn't there a danger that moderates and independents would see the birther nuts not as a fringe but representative of the republican party overall? >> the national republican party looks like it's composed mainly of a group of circulated e-mails. whitewater didn't hurt them. the swift boat accusations didn't hurt them. >> element of truth to whitewater. >> convicted by the -- >> by a jury and a judge. no -- there's no truth whatsoever to the charge that barack obama is not an american. he was not born in hawaii. there's no comparison here. >> there is a comparison because we're floating it, david. there's no truth to the -- >> we're not blowing it. it's liz cheney who's allowing us not to stay out there. why is it so difficult for liz
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cheney and other prominent republicans to say, this is garbage. let's now talk about the policies where we disagree. >> they have seen in the past the political advantage of doing the nudge-nudge, wink-wink dance on this type of thing. this is not anything similar to what senator imhoff said on global warming. >> is there an underlying racial component to all of this that liz cheney and others are fuelling? >> as we know, we elected barack obama to be president. there's a nasty stew of racism and xenophobia floating around. percolating at the bottom of this. i don't think there is any doubt about this. >> if liz cheney or anybody else is unwilling to acknowledge the facts of something as basic and clear-cut as president obama's birth, why should liz cheney be trusted on anything else she wants to talk about? >> i don't know. i'm not the one that books it. it's not the show on this. never shown it -- never shown it. >> you're getting this wrong.
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she has never been willing to come on this show. never able to come on this show or any show on msnbc. she was on "larry king." let's be clear. >> she is on "morning joe" and tv a lot. >> the afternoon show. we have invited her. taking the torture and chooses. she picks and chooses the spot. she knows it's up to james carville to challenge her where it is a political environment. and the key question is, can this possibly help our politics when you have a fringe like this one who believes this stuff and leaders like liz cheney and the fact of the matter, she is the leader. she's allowing this garbage to get out there. >> i don't know if she's a leader of any kind. i would tell you she's a prominent republican because she's been made a prominent republican on tv. if you want to talk about the decline of expertise and the consequences in this society, there is a book you should pick up. >> we're not going talk about books. we're talking about the book
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that dick cheney and daughter liz cheney are trying to write. again, you acknowledge this is complete garbage. >> of course it is. it's complete nonsense. >> what's the political benefit for liz cheney. everybody is ridiculing the gop. >> everyone? >> everyone who has an independent thinking mind says this is crazy. >> and, of course, there's never been a political advantage taken by anyone who -- you do not underestimate it. you do not underestimate american people. i'm telling you there's not a substantial political advantage but there is an advantage within the kind of festival of this stuff that is the moderate republican party. >> appealing to 10% of the public out there that's crazy enough to believe anything. charlie pierce, author of "idiot america." we appreciate it. >> thanks, david. >> that will do it for this thursday edition of "countdown." you can usually catch me from
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3:00 to 5:00 p.m. eastern with my colleague tamron hall. but now to discuss the latest dispute between dick cheney and bush, here's rachel maddow. hey, rachael. >> that was enjoyable between you and mr. pierce. thank you very much. >> of course. >> thank you for staying with us for the next hour. we'll be here to talk about the new old american political strategy of stoking racial indignation for political gain. this time it centers on president obama and the cambridge, massachusetts police department. the state of new jersey reclaimed its status as the most gob-smackingly corrupt state in the union. sorry, illinois. and we have the details on that. and news from c street as there always seems to be. we begin with a surprise and direct political attack by former vice president dick cheney against the man for whom he chose himself as vice president, george w. bush. since leaving office, george w. bush has surfaced for about five minutes. he's given a few speeches but largely taken himself overtly, at least, out of american
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politics. the same, of course, cannot be said for the now nearly ubiquitous former vice president, dick cheney. he threw a roundhouse punch to his former boss over an issue that divided the two men. the issue is whether president bush would pardon cheney's former chief of staff, scooter libby convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to investigators about two years ago. president bush did not pardon mr. libby. the guilty verdict still stands. but he commuted the 2 1/2 year prison sentence. that, apparently, is not enough for dick cheney. mr. cheney wanted and continues to want a full pardon. "time" magazine published a new cover story about bush and cheney's fight over this issue. it's a story that clearly and from my perspective almost astonishingly obviously told from the perspectivef